MacBeth spells it out for Bafana

Bafana Bafana worked on their weakest link at the Pilditch Stadium on Wednesday—their shooting.

The national team came back from Freetown with a 1-0 loss to Sierra Leone last Saturday despite dominating the crunch clash. They meet the Leone Stars in a return 2010 Africa Cup of Nations Group Four qualifier at Atteridgeville’s Super Stadium this Saturday.

Bafana have to collect three points to stay in with a chance of finishing as group runners-up and a place in the next qualifying round.

Russia-based midfield anchorman MacBeth Sibaya was captain of Bafana for the first time in place of injured central defender Aaron Mokoena against Sierra Leone, and said that losing was not an option this time round.

Sibaya, who plays for Russian First Division outfit Rubin Kazan, was pumped up after the Wednesday training session.

“We needed this shooting practice.
It was a good workout. We fell down badly against Sierra Leone in front of goals. We created more than enough chances to win but failed where it mattered most—in front of goals. That is something we have worked hard on not just today [Wednesday], but the whole week. Not taking our chances was our biggest mistake and we paid dearly for it.”

Sibaya, who will earn his 40th cap against Sierra Leone, said the visitors could expect a whole new ball game on Saturday.

Said Sibaya: “We could not adjust to the slippery pitch, which we found difficult to play on as we are not used to those type of conditions. It will be different playing at the Super Stadium. We are happy playing there and have a good record playing at the Super Stadium, which we aim to continue. I am confident we can put this defeat behind us and get our qualifying programme back on track.

“We started too slowly and could not get ourselves back into the game even after we increased the tempo in the second half.”

Sibaya did not place any blame on inexperienced right back Bryce Moon, who gave away a needless penalty in the 22nd minute that allowed the home side to score the only goal.

“It was unlucky. It is one of those things and we must move on and focus on beating Sierra Leone on Saturday,” said Sibaya.

Sibaya will again skipper his country should Blackburn Rovers hard man Aaron Mokoena fail a late fitness test. Mokoena is recovering from a shin injury he sustained in the 4-1 win over Equatorial Guinea at the Super Stadium two weeks ago.

One of the players hoping to rediscover his scoring touch is Surprise Moriri.

Moriri created chances but was one of the main culprits who failed to find the back of the net.

He said: “We need to convert those chances on Saturday. It was disappointing and frustrating losing like we did. For me it was one of those bad days when everything went wrong in front of goals.

“I intend making up for it this Saturday. The pitch in Freetown did not suit me but I am not making that an excuse. However, the pitch at the Super Stadium suits me. But it does not matter where we play at home, we have to win. The weather conditions will also be in our favour. ”

Moriri added that Sierra Leone were not a bad side and should not be underestimated.—Sapa

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